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U.S. aid critical to combat humanitarian emergencies
November 06, 2012

U.S. aid critical to combat humanitarian emergencies
The Goz Amir Refugee Camp about six miles from Koukou, Chad, is home to 25,000 refugees, primarily from the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
View a PDF of the letter here.
Many women and girls have experienced sexual violence in Syria and are vulnerable to further exploitation and abuse. Full funding of the U.S. humanitarian assistance accounts is needed to respond to the unanticipated scale of the human suffering that now accompanies this crisis, assist neighboring countries and host communities in managing the influx of refugees, and ensure that they continue to provide asylum to people who have nowhere else to turn.

(Washington, D.C.) November 6, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joined an InterAction coalition of 39 non-governmental organizations yesterday signing onto a letter to Congress in support of funding U.S. humanitarian assistance accounts in the 2013 fiscal year at the level that was supported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Nearly 44 million people are currently displaced around the world due to conflict, the highest level in 15 years.

The text of the letter, which was sent to each Senator and Representative, follows, and can also be seen on the attached PDF.

As the humanitarian crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate and the world witnesses an unprecedented number of emergencies, we write to strongly urge you to fund U.S. humanitarian assistance in FY 2013 at the level that was supported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. This includes $2.3 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance, $1.25 billion for International Disaster Assistance and $50 million for Emergency Migration and Refugee Assistance. This funding will be critical to saving lives and assisting innocent civilians who have been devastated by conflict.

The crisis in Syria is entering its twentieth month, the last few of which have been the most costly in terms of lives lost and the number of people forced to flee their homes. Displacement into neighboring countries nearly tripled between August and October of 2012; and if current trends continue, over 700,000 Syrian refugees will be spread out across the Middle East by year’s end. Along with food, water, and medicine, shelter is of great concern with the onset of winter in a region where temperatures can plummet to freezing. 

Many women and girls have experienced sexual violence in Syria and are vulnerable to further exploitation and abuse. Full funding of the U.S. humanitarian assistance accounts is needed to respond to the unanticipated scale of the human suffering that now accompanies this crisis, assist neighboring countries and host communities in managing the influx of refugees, and ensure that they continue to provide asylum to people who have nowhere else to turn.

While addressing the Syrian crisis is imperative, it cannot come at the expense of poverty-fighting programs or responding to other pressing humanitarian emergencies. Nearly 44 million people are currently displaced around the world due to conflict, the highest level in 15 years. Across the Sahel region, 18 million people are now food insecure as the result of drought in the region; four million of whom are children facing malnutrition. 

This situation has been compounded by conflict in Mali, which has caused the displacement of some 500,000 people. Fighting in the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan regions of Sudan has led to 170,000 refugees crossing the border into South Sudan since the beginning of 2012. Many of the refugees arrive in an extremely vulnerable state after an arduous trek and have faced health challenges due to the rainy season. With the current international response allowing for only one health clinic per every 25,000 refugees, meeting accepted humanitarian standards will remain a challenge.

Since the FY 2013 budget was formulated and considered by the Congressional Appropriations committees, we have seen new emergencies develop and other situations greatly deteriorate. For these reasons, we reiterate our strong support for the humanitarian funding levels in the Senate FY13 State and Foreign Operations bill. We also urge this funding not come at the expense of development funding, which works together with humanitarian aid to serve the common goal of building a safer and more prosperous world.

Sincerely,

1. Action Against Hunger 
2. Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), International 
3. American Jewish World Service (AJWS) 
4. American Red Cross International Services 
5. American Refugee Committee 
6. Asylum Access 
7. CARE 
8. Church World Service 
9. Concern Worldwide 
10. Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
11. Episcopal Migration Ministries 
12. Friends Committee on National Legislation 
13. Global Communities 
14. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) 
15. International Medical Corps 
16. International Rescue Committee 
17. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA 
18. Kurdish Human Rights Watch 
19. Lions Clubs International 
20. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service 
21. Mercy Corps 
22. Mercy—USA for Aid and Development 
23. Millennium Water Alliance 
24. Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration 
25. Oxfam America 
26. Physicians for Human Rights 
27. Project C.U.R.E. 
28. Refugees International 
29. Resolve 
30. Save the Children USA 
31. The Center for Victims of Torture 
32. The Episcopal Church 
33. U.S. Fund for UNICEF 
34. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) 
35. U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) 
36. Water for South Sudan 
37. WellShare International 
38. Women’s Refugee Commission
39. World Vision
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Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communicationsdirector@jesuit.org
202-629-5946